I met an old friend who was in town for lunch. Her entire family was there (about 12 people). My friend announced, as many do like to call me, "Pevos is here". We hugged, we kissed, we talked for a few minutes and then I sat down and joined them at the table. Across from me sat two ladies who seemed to be staring at me. I thought at first I had done something to offend them so I introduced myself, "Hello my name is Jen". The two ladies looked as though they had seen a ghost. "Did you say your last name was Pevos?" "Yes", I replied. They explained to me that their mother's maiden name was Lillian Pivoz. I felt chills run up my spine. I had always heard there were others. I even knew they lived very close to my home town of Detroit, MI. However, until this day I had never met one. The two ladies were Nancy and Leslie. I want to thank you, ladies. You have made me realize how little I know about myself.
I spent my winter break from the University of Colorado doing as much research as I possibly could. I had a very difficult time at first but www.jewishgen.org has really helped me to understand my errs. First, you all must understand our story. It begins somewhere in the Russia/Ukraine/Poland/Belarus area. This where I believe my grandfather came from but constant war changed the borderlines and town names very often. The only picture I have of my family in the old country is one of my greatgrandfather Hersh (Hirsh/Zelig), our true name being Pivovar, sitting proud in his seat. Two of his daughter's Ann (Lipsitz), and Dora (Schneider) stand behind him, and my grandfather is sitting crossed legged in a chair next to his father. I know who the people are because my father labeled them before he passed on last summer. This is all I have. I know my grandfather (Amer. Herbert Joseph Pevos) had at least two brothers. I do not know their names nor do I know my greatgrandmother's for sure. It has been confirmed by my new cousins Nancy and Leslie, as well as my aunt Susie, and Uncle Danny that there were differences between the brothers. No one knows why because it has never been discussed. When Lillians' father came to America his name was changed to Pivoz. When my grandfather came by way of Canada and possibly accompanied by one brother, the names were changed to Pevos. If anyone out there sees my story and can add what he/she might know I would love to hear from you.
As I said, I am a University of Colorado student, my major is Anthropology. I came across a website one day that described the town my grandmother was born in,Pinsk. It was one of the first towns to be completely anihilated by the Nazis. 8,000 men and women were murdered there in 1941.
You may be feeling the way I did when I heard that. I was mortified and heart broken. I knew I must not let the Nazis win. They murdered 12 million people (not including undocumented slains) in their reign. Not keeping the memories alive, not releasing the pain, not allowing the children and grandchildren to know who their family was, is like admitting defeat. I can never imagine the pain our people must have felt. It is difficult for me to even see the pictures. I feel it is time to reconnect our history. I plan to study and research as much as I possibly can on the history, genealogy, and language of eastern and central Europe. I am hoping for funding from the university to do an independent study there. I would like to start in the south and work my way north through the lands my forefathers and mothers once traveled. I will keep a diary as I go. I do not know what I will find. If nothing else I would like to understand myself and my history, We must never forget how real the Holocaust was. It has happened to more than one people across time repeatedly, we must never allow it to happen again.
Please help by contributing your stories and contacting me. Jen